How to come up with a great business name?
A great name for your startup can help your brand stand out from the rest. In general terms speaking, you want a clearly distinct business name, you want it to stick in the minds of people, and, of course, smooth to pronounce. A hastily picked and researched name can turn your customers away and might also get you in legal trouble. On the other hand, if you do your homework, then it can result in a concise and attractive name, which thoroughly represents your brand.
Following tips will assist you in coming up with a name setting your business up for success:
1. Avoid tongue twisters
A fluent name will improve your online searches among potential customers. The pronunciation should be as close to the spelling as possible to avoid cases of misspelling. Consider that your company name might be mentioned on the phone or spoken by people who only received an email or letter.
2. Try to be future proof
Being too specific may result in limiting your brand for later expansion. Keep in mind you might want to spread your operations later on. Company names like “California Hats” or “NY Books” would be stuck with the locality and/or the product type mentioned in their names. Keep your options open as good as you can, while communicating your core business clearly (unless you are building the next “Google” or “Amazon”).
3. Whenever possible, go for ".com"
In the age of Google, the domain ending isn't as important as it used to be. However, still, no domain extension will work as well for your business as a good ".com" domain. It's firmly established in people's minds as the prime domain extension globally. Even if your proposed domain name turns out to be already owned, you can still contact the owner, in case they are open to selling it.
You might need to spend some money on the right name. Purchasing a solid .com-domain is considered an investment. It signals that you are serious about your business and sets the base for an on-going business relationship. Eventually, it will help you to grow your business.
Our name check service allows you to check the availability of your proposed name. Of course, it works for .com as well as other domain names. It gives you information about all social profiles you might need simultaneously. It will not only show you if a certain domain name is free. It's also giving you an indicator if a third-party listed it for sale.
4. Make sure the name conveys your core business
Shallow and generic names should be avoided as they won't be able to convey a meaningful message. A hint about the type of business should be easily interpretable from the name. An excessive marketing effort will be required if the name is not engaging enough despite being catchy.
Names like “Grammarly” and “Product Hunt” are examples of concise, effortless, and engaging business names. One can easily get an idea from the names without much research or checking.
5. Try to be a little catchy
Being a little catchy won't hurt as it makes sure your business is remembered. No one simply opts for a dull name, but trying too hard does sometimes result in a complicated or confusing name. It should strike a perfect balance between simple and catchy. The name should roll off the tongue from your employees if they are asked about their place of work. Don't forget your target audience while deciding the name's catchiness.
6. Smooth pronunciation
A mouthful name will do no favors to anyone. So, the pronunciation should be flawless even if it has few syllables. Also, ensure that the audience can make out the spelling from only the pronunciation. Phone calls carry your brand as well and you should plan for it.
7. Check for existing business with the same name
Search your country's register of companies to avoid hassles in registration if the name turns out to be already registered. Even when the name is not completely identical, it may be denied registration if it is easy to confuse with an existing company. The final call is left to the companies register.
A lawyer can also help you with this or you can search the business register yourself online. Search for the name of your country or state and the words “company register” on Google. You will most likely get to the official search for existing companies. Spend some time making sure your desired name is available.
8. Make sure your name is truly yours
Never forget to look-up the proposed names in trademark registers to confirm that you aren't at risk of trademark infringement. Here are some trademark searches across different countries. You might want to check:
- US Patent and Trademark Office for the USA,
- Canadian Trademarks Database for Canada,
- Public Trademark Search for India,
- Trade Mark Search of the Intellectual Property Office in the UK,
- Australian Trade Mark Search for Australia, and
- Intellectual Property Office for New Zealand.
Use it to ensure the availability of a trade- or service-mark for the name. This will make it harder to find a distinct business name in the vast ocean of different businesses. Yet, it's doable and is worth the effort. You can (and should!) go into detail here to ensure your name is actually available.
9. Welcome Name Reviews
Prepare a shortlist of the preferred & available names. Test each of them out on your close friends and family. You will also need to run it by your target audience and get their reaction. Pay special attention to any multilingual names for any contrary definition of the word in any other language. Make sure your name considers your targeted markets as well as the audience.
Once you are ready, you can also ask publicly on Reddit. r/smallbusiness, r/SEO for search engine friendliness, and r/Entrepreneur are good subreddits to ask on. Start with one and work your way up.
10. Don't rush it and let it "sink in"
Take your time to get this right as it is not something that you are going to have a chance to review too soon. Keep in mind that this name is going to stay with your business for a long time. Don't commit too fast. Research in detail with available options before committing.
Choosing a name for your business is one of the fundamental steps for a new business. A name should be unique, concise, and fluent. One should be able to pronounce it with ease. Due diligence should be carried out when this process is taking place. A hasty decision should be avoided at all costs as it can be fatal in the long run. All applicable legal requirements should be complied with and followed.
Follow the above tips and you will end up finding and selecting the best name for your business.